This One Thing Is Most Likely to Dictate Your Chances of Dying From COVID
A professor of epidemiology says, in terms of COVID, this is "by far the strongest predictor of mortality."
Coronavirus cases are currently spiking in most of the country as the United States comes very close to reaching three million positive COVID-19 cases. The good news, however, appears to be that the mortality rate is low. This is due to a number of factors, not the least of which is the raft of new cases in much younger patients who don't typically have the co-morbidities that raise one's chances of dying from COVID-19 complications. In truth, while conditions like diabetes, obesity, and kidney disease do increase your risk of dying from coronavirus, there is one enormous factor that best determines a coronavirus patient's outcome: your age.
"Age is by far the strongest predictor of mortality," Jeffrey Klausner, MD, professor of epidemiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, told Business Insider. In fact, about 80 percent of U.S. coronavirus deaths through mid-June were people over 65, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"Among adults, the risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at highest risk," the CDC says. "Severe illness means that the person with COVID-19 may require hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe, or they may even die."
So, while it may seem like good news that coronavirus is affecting more young people these days, Klausner warns, "the thing now is to keep the young people away from the old people."
The truth is that fatalities tend to lag, so we won't truly know how many deaths will come from this current spike in cases for a few weeks or even months. Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), told Axios at the end of June that "the death rate always lags several weeks behind the infection rate." He is also concerned that the young people being infected right now could "infect the older people. The older people get the complications, and then they go to the hospitals." And, of course, as a result, death rates could rise.
Similarly, Tom Frieden, MD, former director of the CDC, warned in June on Twitter that "with younger age of recent infections in at least some places such as Florida, expect a lower death rate in this wave…until the 20-40-year-olds who are infected today go on to infect others." And for more on the silent signs of COVID, check out This Is the Tell-Tale Sign You've Already Had COVID, According to a Doctor.